Governor proposes teacher time bank - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Governor proposes teacher time bank

February 10, 2006

Albany -- A plan proposed by Governor Perdue would help some deployed Georgia troops spend more time with their families when they're home on leave.

The Governor wants school systems to allow teachers and staff to donate their personal leave days to the spouses of active duty military personnel. The school employees would then be able to use those banked off-days when their spouses are home on leave.

Spanish teacher Michelle Watts hasn't seen her husband Samuel since he deployed to Iraq in May. "We're newlyweds," she says, "So I'm very anxious to see him."

She expects him home by this May. She just hopes she'll already be out of school by then because it's so hard for teachers, especially new ones, to take time off.

"It was just really difficult to spend the days with them." Westover High School Assistant Principal Deborah Jones knows that first hand too.

Her husband requested his leave to come during the Christmas holiday break, so they could spend time together. "I kind of lucked up to get that time off with my husband. But in most cases, they are coming home during the time we are not on break," Jones said.

A proposal by Governor Perdue would make it a little easier for educators to spend quality time with their military spouses when they're home on leave. He's asking superintendents to allow staff to donate some of their personal days to a leave bank.

Then, a military wife or husband could use those off-days if needed. Jones says "I think that the donation will really be helpful for some families."

Dougherty County school system officials say they will consider implementing the Governor's plan, but say it's too early to determine just how the leave bank will work. Watts and Jones say they're just glad the state government and the school system are trying to support military families.

There's also talk at the State Capitol about excusing absences of children of deployed troops, so they too can spend time with their parent who's home from war.

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